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190T vs. 210D polyester? (Know the difference!)




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Polyester fabric is a synthetic fabric found in numerous objects including clothing items, furniture, and tents!

Here we will focus on the latter application for tent fly sheets, and dive into what the different types of polyester mean for your choice of tent, but everything in this article will also apply to other objects made from polyester!

The main difference between 190T and 210D polyester is the thickness of the thread used to make the fabric. The thread used for 190T is approximately 8 times thicker than the thread used to make 210D polyester.   

So what do these “D” and “T” designations mean?

The “D” in these fabric designations stands for “denier” which is the weight (in grams) of 9000 meters of thread. The designation “Tex” is also commonly used for polyester fabrics and is the weight of 1000 meters of thread.

Denier is the number of grams that 9000 meters of the fabric thread weigh.

Tex is the number of grams 1000 meters of the fabric thread weigh.

As 1D is the same as 9D, the conversion can be done as follows:

Tex = Denier/9

That is, the 190T fabric corresponds to 1710D, which can then be compared directly to the 210D thickness.

Doing so reveals that 1710D is (1710/210) 8.142 times thicker than 210D!  

DenierTex (g/km)
What does the denier “D” measure convert to in “T” (Tex) or grams per 1000 meters.

If you want to see some examples of tents made with these and other lightweight fabrics, check out my list of 20 lightweight budget hiking tents.

What is polyester?

Polyester is made from polyethylene terephthalate also known as PET, which is a synthetic polymer. The polyester plastic itself is used in everything from drinking bottles to TV screens and insulation material for your sleeping bag or “down” jacket!

Fleece jackets are also made from polyester.

Garments made from thin threads of polyester are mostly used for clothing, furniture or tents.

Polyester is generally more suitable for outdoor clothing as it is cheaper, more resistant to wrinkling, discolors less in UV/sunlight, and is often regarded as more rough. 

When used in outdoor products such as for tents, thicker polyester threads are used because polyester is not as strong as nylon and therefore more polyester material (thicker threads) are needed to obtain the same strength.

I have recently written a post on the different nylon types used for tents if you’re interested in the lightest materials around!

In addition, it is simply not technically possible to make polyester threads thinner than a thickness of 20D (whereas nylon can be spun down to 7D!).

This generally makes products with polyester, including tents, heavier than comparable products where nylon is used.

Polyester tents to wrinkle a bit more and has a seemingly rougher surface compared to nylon.

If you’re interested in the difference between nylon and polyester and its relevance for tent fabrics check out my post on the difference between nylon and polyester!

What is 190T polyester?

190T polyester refers to a fabric woven with a polyester thread that weighs 190 grams per kilometer. The actual weight of the fabric depends on the method used to make it, coatings, rip-stop, etc.

It is fairly thick and rugged and is, therefore, more often used for clothing and backpacks rather than lightweight tents.

A light fabric made for clothing like the Taffeta 190T polyester weighs around 56g per square meter of fabric if not too densely woven.

185T polyester is another similar fabric used in tents and many other of the same purposes as 190T and everything you read here about 190T will generally also count for 185T polyester as well.

Do you know the difference between nylon and polyester and that polyester is widely used for rain gear, sleeping bags, tents, and sleeping pads? And do you know how it impacts the functionality? I wrote an article about the fabric type and its impact on rain gear and a post on sleeping pads here.

Take a look at my favourite sleeping bags or check out my post on how to choose an inflatable sleeping pad that is not noisy to sleep on.

Other materials like the extremely durable and waterproof Dyneema material are also used more and more in outdoor gear.

70D Nylon vs 190T Polyester

Fabric made from190T polyester is much thicker and more durable than 70D Nylon, but also heavier.

Whereas 190T polyester has a thread thickness that corresponds to 190 grams per kilometer, 70D nylon has a thickness translating to only 7.7 grams per kilometer of yarn!

On top of that, polyester has a chemical structure that will make it more waterproof and fire-resistant, but less tear-resistant per unit of weight.

Here, 70D nylon is stronger per weight and if the surface is treated with the right chemicals, it will easily sustain above a 6000mm water pressure!

I wrote a longer post on the differences between nylon and polyester if you want to dig deeper into the topic!

Is 190T polyester waterproof?

190T polyester is often used for clothing, backpacks, and outdoor gear that needs some level of water resistance.

The level of water resistance of the fabric depends on its construction and the waterproofing finishes applied to it. But fabric made from 190T polyester is generally quite water resistant on par with most other outdoor fabrics e.g. 210T polyester and 20D nylon used in tents.

Some 190T polyester fabrics have a water-repellent impregnation, polyurethane, or polyvinyl chloride coating, which makes them water-resistant and provides protection from wind and rain.

With the right surface treatment, 190T polyester can be virtually waterproof.

Most tents made of 190T polyester are marketed as waterproof, but it’s best to read the product specifications and reviews to confirm their actual level of water resistance.

What does 210D polyester mean?

The 210D in this fabric designation means that 9000 meters of the thread used to make the fabric weighs 210 grams.

210D is much thicker and more rough than a thinner fabric like 70D

This kind of fabric is often used for more lightweight applications like tents or hunting camouflage nets. When treated with water repellents, the final fabric can weigh up to around 120 grams per square meter.

It is also very often used to make lightweight backpacks for outdoor/sport activities.

Is 210D polyester durable?

Yes, 210D polyester is quite durable. Compared to thinner tent fabrics or to nylon, it is more resistant to wear and also less susceptible to UV light.

Whereas it is not used in lightweight tents, it is often used in bigger family tents where weight is not the primary concern.

Nylons of similar thickness or thicker are somewhat stronger, but not as strong as for example Dyneema.

Is 210D polyester waterproof?

It depends on the waterproofing used, but if the right surface treatment is applied it can be very water-resistant and virtually waterproof!

For example, a layer of silicone or PU can be applied to 210D polyester to easily reach a waterproof rating of above 3000mm water column pressure!

This is good enough for 210D polyester to be used for umbrellas and tents etc.

Umbrellas are often made of polyester.
Umbrellas are sometimes made from 210D polyester!

However, you have to remember that the “D” designation says nothing about how tightly a fabric is woven and a loosely woven fabric will be less waterproof than a tightly woven one.

The Denier designations of nylon and polyester are sometimes followed by a so-called “thread count”, confusingly, designated with a “T” (like the Tex weight postscript), to tell you how many threads are used per square inch of fabric!

Knowing both the denier/tex and a thread count is the only sure way to know the weight and strength of the (untreated) fabric!

Interested in other types of polyester than those mentioned here – check out my latest article about the difference between 150D Vs. 300D Polyester or perhaps the even thicker variants of 600D and above!
Similar properties are also found in the thicker nylons like 210D, 420D, 600D, and 1000D nylons that are super strong!

Is 210D better than 190T for tents?

210D is better for lightweight tents, because 210D polyester is lighter compared to 190T polyester without being too fragile, however, if you need a sturdier tent 190T is the better choice.

It is the classical weight vs. strength question!

Perhaps the most popular choice of polyester fabric for tents is the 210T fabric, which is both sturdy and relatively lightweight.  

So the choice really stands between strength and weight, however, again remember that the “D” designation says nothing about how tightly a fabric is woven and a loosely woven fabric will be lighter than a tightly woven one and vice versa!

In conclusion, the 190T vs 210D polyester debate comes down to a choice between durability and weight. If you need a light tent, go for 210D. If you need a durable tent, go for 190T.

What are some 190T polyester tents?

A tent made from 190T polyester is a good option for those concerned with weight but do not want to compromise durability too much.

I wrote a comparison between the two similar fabrics of 20D nylon and 210T polyester, most of the points also counts for the slightly thinner 190T polyester.

Above are two examples of good budget tents made from 190T polyester. The one to the left is the Lunar Solo Tent that I have reviewed here.

If you’re interested in truly lightweight tents, you should look to nylon and I have collected my best options in this post about lightweight budget tents!

210D oxford fabric vs 190T polyester

210D polyester oxford fabric is a durable, heavy-duty material that is suitable for a variety of outdoor applications, such as tents, backpacks, and outdoor gear. It is made of 210 denier polyester fibers, which are woven together to create a fabric that is strong and resistant to abrasion and tearing.

600D polyester waterproof
Oxford fabric is a bit softer and wrinkle resistant than ordinary fabric.

On the other hand, 190T polyester is a lighter-weight fabric that is often used for items like lightweight camping gear, rainwear, and sun shelters.

Despite its lighter weight, it is still a durable and weather-resistant material, but it may not be as strong or long-lasting as 210D polyester oxford.

The main difference between polyester oxford fabric and ordinary polyester lies in the structure of the fabric. Polyester oxford fabric is a specific type of fabric that is woven using a specific technique and has a specific look that fits clothing and backpacks better.


In conclusion, polyester is a synthetic fabric that is used in a variety of objects, including tents. The difference between 190T and 210D polyester lies in the thickness of the thread used in the fabric.

190T polyester is thicker and more rugged, making it better for clothing and backpacks, while 210D polyester is lighter and more suitable for tents.

However, polyester is not as strong as nylon, so more material is needed to achieve the same strength. Although polyester is waterproof and fire-resistant, it is less tear-resistant than nylon. The choice between polyester and nylon ultimately comes down to personal preference and the intended use of the product.

Polyester can also be used for other things than fabric – for example, insulating filling in jackets and sleeping bags!

If you would like to know how down compares to synthetic polyester filling for warmth See my newest analysis of polyester vs. down for warmth here (I think you will be surprised!).

Or perhaps you are interested in the thicker polyester variants such as the 150D and 300D polyester fabrics or those above 600D thickness used in backpacks!

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